Motorcycle leather jackets

Motorcycle leather jackets

 

The beginnings

Motorcycle leather jackets

 

Chronicle of the spirit and mystique of the motorcycle

Advertising Harley Davidson about the 30s | Motorcycle leather jackets

In this post, “Motorcycle leather jackets”, we will try to tell you chronologically how it originates, develops and continues to this day, this idea or mystique that has always surrounded the bike and that for a significant number of fans, driving it means much more.

From its beginnings, at the beginning of the 20th century, the profile of a motorcycle user was affluent, family-oriented, conservative, who used the vehicle as a transport or recreational element with no other pretensions than to perform a peaceful and comforting ride.

Many of them started to form bike clubs with which they organized family events to drive under a beautiful sunny day and talk about trivial issues, many of them dressed in golf pants, riding boots and bowtie.

For the clothing worn in the armies, and for the development of new engines that make motorcycles faster and heavier, at the end of the 30s, leather jackets start to be used.

The world of the motorcycle begins to get tougher and the competition is acquiring a superlative importance, where different brands fight to get the first positions to have notoriety and show their potential consumers that their developments are the most effective and those that get better results.

For the clothing worn in the armies, and for the development of new engines that make motorcycles faster and heavier, at the end of the 30s, leather jackets start to be used.

 

The post-war USA … the place where everything begins.

Motorcycle leather jackets

 

With the end of the Second World War, a large number of young soldiers return home and intend to reintegrate into society, which will not be the same upon their return. Reinsertion that will not be easy because many things have changed, especially, themselves, the traumatic situations they have experienced will greatly affect and mark them forever.

They had in common the need for camaraderie, strong emotions and alcohol, a bad reintegration into society, a bad connection with a country that was anxious to forget the war and the sacrifices they had had to make for their homeland.

Chronicle of the spirit and mystique of the motorcycle

Group of bikers about the 40s | Motorcycle leather jackets

Many of them find in the motorcycle a vehicle that will recover the adrenaline and strong emotions, a distraction that will make them forget what happened and place them on the margins of society.

A society that dreams of being able to buy the “great American car”, symbol of status and success. Luxurious, powerful and colorful, it becomes a symbol of the “American dream”. Work, health, education for children and transportation. An aspirational model of the postwar American family. An idea of prosperity and ascending social mobility

A society that sent them to the front very far, in defense of this dream and the return, no longer recognizes them.

They paint their bikes in black, lighten their weight (bobber style) in order to achieve more speed, transform them without taking into account aesthetic issues, begin to form bike clubs to be able to meet, strengthen their camaraderie and give free rein to their nature without filters.

At first this movement is quite informal and the point around where everything starts is the pubs. These groups are the antithesis of traditional motorcycle clubs, family and exemplary behavior that were the dominant groups before the Second World War

These new biker clubs reject the traditional clubs that represents everything they are not, or want to be.

They paint their bikes in black, lighten their weight (bobber style) in order to achieve more speed, transform them without taking into account aesthetic issues, begin to form bike clubs to be able to meet, strengthen their camaraderie and give free rein to their nature without filters.

 

Hollister 1947

Motorcycle leather jackets

 

On the evening of July 3, 1947 an event that will change things a lot begins to take shape. It will be the starting point that will start the legend.

For the 4th and 5th of July, a motorcycle rally had been organized in Hollister, a small town in California, a meeting that was held every year organized by the motorcycle clubs that dominated the events of that time, all of them grouped in the conservative association AMA (American Motorcyclist Association)

The participants of the event arrive with tents in their saddlebags, some arrive by car and set up real camps, comfortable and well organized. Waiting to enjoy a few days of leisure and peaceful on the day of independence of their country.

Chronicle of the spirit and mystique of the motorcycle

Image of the press in Hollister 1947 | Motorcycle leather jackets

The discord begins to develop from the night before, when it began to arrive groups of bikers, unwanted by the organization, young guys, with modified bikes, scandalous, dressed in leather jackets, that had little to do with the spirit of concentration.

These young people did not respect any rule of conduct and since their arrival they did not stop consuming alcohol and making a fuss. It is not known exactly what was the starting point but, it seems that the AMA vetoed the registration of some of these bikers to the competitions organized for the event, claiming that they were not partners, or that they did not have the motorcycle or the regulation kit.

The truth is that nothing would have changed if the organization had not censored them, they did not come for sport.

The discord begins to develop from the night before, when it began to arrive groups of bikers, unwanted by the organization, young guys, with modified bikes, scandalous, dressed in a bad way, that had little to do with the spirit of concentration.

The rest is easy to explain, an infernal drunkenness, three or four thousand drunks in bars and streets, improvised races, acrobatic motorcycle exhibitions in the main streets, behaviors outside the norms, for example, bikers teaching the ass to people “good people”they were reprimanded.

The final balance was, some injured among the drunken bikers, the streets full of bottles of alcohol and some other destruction.

 

The press and the beginning of the legend.

Motorcycle leather jackets

 

The press finally finished enlarging the legend and making it known to the world. With a rarely seen coverage, is dedicated to narrate the events with some drama and the whole country, shudders.

San Francisco Chronicle … .. “unleashed violence, looting of bars and homes, construction of barricades, infernal races, total lack of control”

Chronicle of the spirit and mystique of the motorcycle

Image of the press in Hollister 1947 | Motorcycle leather jackets

New York Times …… “road devils”

Life … “rebellion of thousands of bikers who beat citizens, intimidation of the local population, request for police reinforcements to neighboring counties”

The legend was born and spread like a virus, traveled all over the US and the world at dizzying speed, savages riding motorcycles destroyed everything that was within their reach without any regard for the society that saw them born and now suffers them.

In September of the same year, similar incidents occurred in Riverside during another AMA meeting. This was already an unstoppable snowball.

Motorcyclist …… “Biker outlaws have arrived with the aim of repainting the city red with blood.”

The legend was born and spread like a virus, traveled all over the US and the world at dizzying speed, savages riding motorcycles destroyed everything that was within their reach without any regard for the society that saw them born and now suffers them.

It is the moment where the expression 1% is born, which is later claimed by bikers with patches cooked in their leather jackets to this day.

On the eve of the 1948 edition, the city sheriff states: “It is necessary a change of behavior on the part of 1% of irresponsible, turbulent and sometimes rude bikers who hide behind 99% of decent bikers”.

The new Outlaw was born, young, rebellious, without rules, riding a motorcycle and wears a leather jackets. Term popularized by Motorcyclist magazine. “Biker outlaws have arrived with the aim of repainting the city’s blood red.”

 

Holywood collaborates. Motorcycle leather jackets

Motorcycle leather jackets

 

In 1953 the movie The wild one (wild!) Is released and narrates the incidents in Hollister, the success of the film is such, that the resonance is enormous worldwide, this does nothing but increase the power of the legend, five years after what happened.

Motorcycle leather jackets

Image of the film “wild one” | Motorcycle leather jackets

The popularity of the film is so great that Europe and even Japan see their own “savages” born.

Although the film aroused among young people the desire to become a biker, the reality is that the film was not a positive publicity for the sector, dropping its sales quickly in favor of the emerging scooter. The worst part is taken by Harley Davidson who is already beginning to notice the advance and subsequent leadership of the English motorcycle.

In 1953 the movie The wild one (wild!) Is released and narrates the incidents in Hollister, the success of the film is such, that the resonance is enormous worldwide, this does nothing but increase the power of the legend, five years after what happened.

For at least 10 years after the premiere of the movie, the “Biker Gang” reef is exploited by films such as: The Wild Angels, Hell’s Angels on Wheels, Angels Hard as they Come, Born Losers ……

In 1969, 15 years after the release of The wild one and coinciding with an authentic social revolution, Easy rider is released, another of the key films that will help keep the fire of the legend alive, becoming a cult film for an entire generation.

Film that is a turning point for Harley Davidson, as a result of this film, the American brand regains visibility and becomes again a company with its own light. Embodying and motorizing the new western hero.

Already in another context, the essence of the message remains, marginal, rebels, who do not want to be domesticated, run through the landscape fleeing the big city to meet their destiny.

 

The message and the power of a symbol. Motorcycle leather jackets

Motorcycle leather jackets

 

Motorcycle leather jackets

Image of the film “Easy Rider” | Motorcycle leather jackets

Obviously for the young bikers of the 40s and 50s, as a result, we believe, of all the social changes caused by the postwar period, riding a motorcycle had become a way of life, a reason for being, a statement of intentions They had really found their place in society, the motorcycle was their liberating and rebellious instrument to that society in which they no longer found a place.

Libertarians, vagabonds and sometimes violent, on the other side they found a society that feared them, that saw them as parasites, disturbing nomads, dirty and idle marginals, whose lifestyle threatened the most sacred values, work, family, property , hygiene and … … the car.

The use of the motorcycle to travel was seen as a provocation

Libertarians, vagabonds and sometimes violent, on the other side they found a society that feared them, that saw them as parasites, disturbing nomads, dirty and idle marginals, whose lifestyle threatened the most sacred values, work, family, property , hygiene and … … the car.

Since the 20s the motorcycle was no longer considered as a means of transport. It was a hobby, at most a sport, but not a decent way to get around and take a trip down the road

In 1969, Easy rider, a strange road movie, clearly captures this conflict within society, where two furry bikers cross the country aboard two bizarre bikes.

 

The current times and the mystic. Motorcycle leather jackets

Motorcycle leather jackets

 

From that first event, which would mark the world of the motorcycle on fire, to this day, the spirit remains, much of the original message endures these days.

It´s have been created, many are in force and new ones will be created, biker clubs that gather all this mysticism with deep variations and with a variety of cultures in all parts of the world.

The two most famous motorcycles clubs that express this philosophy are:

The “Hell’s Angels Motorcycle club”, one of the oldest and most radical clubs, founded in 1948.

And the “HOG” (Harley Owners Group), founded by Harley in 1983 in the US and exported to Europe in the early 90’s.

Motorcycle leather jackets

Group of bikers today | Motorcycle leather jackets

New faithful, converts who do not necessarily have conviction, and who are often adepts for circumstances and on the other hand apostles of the first epoch who make ostentation of cult paraphernalia, turn their marginal mysticism into a new religion.

With many nuances and variations, following the profound changes that society has experienced, today after so many years, the phenomenon continues worldwide and has contributed to this the marketing of large motorcycle construction companies.

New faithful, converts who do not necessarily have conviction, and who are often adepts for circumstances and on the other hand apostles of the first epoch who make ostentation of cult paraphernalia, turn their marginal mysticism into a new religion.

The clearest case of global and capitalist company that makes use of this tool is Harley Davidson, the company that owes its survival to this mystic biker, owes a lot to these terrible bikers, rebels, and living evils dressed in leather jackets, those who founded the movement, who it has maintained and keeps alive the motor spirit par excellence and has rescued it from danger.

But, within today’s society, a very diverse niche of people, who are not happy with the future of the world, need to express themselves and pick up the gloves of those young bikers who made the bike and their attitude a lifestyle, a legend that stands up to history and society.

It is true, without the press or the cinema all this would not have existed. Very often the creators and media are mere messengers of what is raging in society and do nothing but show us reality as a mirror.

 

 

 


Klauer & Iannuzzi | 2020 | Motorcycle leather jackets